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Runco Staff Review - Das Leben der Anderen (The Lives of Others)

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

By Andrew Morgen
In East Germany under the Communist regime, half of the populace was spying on the other half. This was carried out by a network of informers and bureaucrats called the Ministerium fur Staatssicherheit, which in typical German fashion, was commonly shortened to "Stasi."

The Stasi were experts at interrogation, intimidation, and covert surveillance. The Lives of Others is the fictional story of Gerd Wiesler, one of the Stasi's best operatives, as he investigates Georg Dreyman, a prominent playwright and author. In the course of this investigation, both men are changed in profound ways.

Too often in films and books, people who live under oppressive regimes are classified in one of two ways: someone is either a downtrodden member of the population who rises against the oppressor, or a member of the bureaucracy who does the oppressing - but who doesn't really believe, and is usually just in it for personal gain. This ignores the fact that in many cases, people were true believers. In this film, Wiesler is a true believer.

He spends his days in an attic above Dreyman's apartment, listening to another man's life and reporting on his activities. Dreyman's life is full of love, friends and art. Wiesler spends his nights in a stark socialist apartment, a place with no personal touches, where even the couch looks hard and unwelcoming.

One day, Wiesler hears Dreyman play a piano piece in memory of his dead friend, "Sonata for a Good Man" (which was composed especially for this film), and something changes inside him. He comes to the realization that these people, whom he has been taught to regard as enemies or "others," have lives of worth and meaning and deserve to be protected from oppression.

Shot in muted grays and pale greens, the film highlights the beauty of the spirit in spite of bleak surroundings and would look spectacular on a Runco LightStyle LS-5 1080p DLP projector. There is no shouting in this film. All communication is in normal conversational tones, whether one is discussing Berthold Brecht or the best way to break a prisoner.

This film ultimately shows that all humans, no matter their circumstances, have free will and the opportunity to affect the lives of others.

Runco Staff Review - Just Keep Swimming

Thursday, May 20, 2010

By Duane Castillo, Runco Inside Sales

There’s a scene in Finding Nemo where Dory and Marlin are in a whale and Marlin says to Dory:

"I promised I wouldn’t let anything happen to him"

To which Dory responds:

"That’s a funny thing to promise. If nothing ever happens to him, then nothing will EVER happen to him and that’s no fun for little Harpo."

This movie is a classic because its message is timeless - let the people you love, live life. You may think you are protecting them because you love them and that is the right thing to do, but if you do not loosen the grip sometimes neither of you will ever experience all the wonderful things out there. I know the world is not perfect and is not always safe. However, it is the world we live in and there are so many amazing things to see and do that once in a while it is worth the risk of stepping outside the safety of your fortress.

Finding Nemo has taught me that LIFE is out there and happening and if you are not living it then what is the point? If you are not living, then you are dead and for that reason I think everyone should see this movie at least once because by the end of it you may just decide to keep swimming.

With its ability to display the largest color gamut the Runco LED Q-750d would be my projector of choice for watching Finding Nemo. The Q-750d can display colors like never before - finally, a projector that can do justice for animated masterpieces.

The Promise and Problems of 3D

Friday, May 14, 2010

Posted by Jennifer B. Davis

First, I cannot write about 3D without saying that we at Runco are very excited about 3D and how important it will be to the industry in 2011. The only concern I have is this: similar to what has happened every 60 years or so, the industry’s early efforts to commercialize in-home 3D are so poor that they poison the well and keep 3D from catching on the way that it could. The reasons for poor 3D reproduction in the home are many and can range from poor implementation, compatibility problems with the variety of “standards” that are bracing for war in the market, to the lack of real content in the market to take advantage of developments in technology.

I experienced a wild situation recently that illustrates this perfectly as I watched a few friends set up a new 3D television that they had bought from a big box store (their first mistake, I must say). Excited by the prospects of 3D, they bought a television, new Blu-Ray player, and got ready with their glasses. They sent someone to pick up DreamWorks’ “Monsters vs Aliens” in 3D Blu-Ray Disc to play. They had asked the blue shirt (or were they green?) and came back triumphantly carrying a disc labeled boldly as “3D.”

Only one problem: this disc was formatted in anaglyph 3D. The same blue-red glasses that were popularized in the 1950s (the last time the well was poisoned). They were set up to watch anaglyph 3D with LCD active-shutter glasses (or, more accurately, “safety goggles”). The overhead conversation included the following highlights:

“Do you see 3D?”

“Oh, be sure to turn on the glasses. The power button is on the top. Not the top of the TV the top of the glasses.”

“I think I see something.”

“Why is it so blurry?”

“I think something is wrong.”

Wrong indeed. If you visit a big box electronics store, a movie rental store (if your town still has one) or do a quick search on Amazon.com for “3D Blu-Ray” you will find lots of anaglyph titles that you can buy…and are unwatchable on any television and incompatible with other products on the market dubbed “3D.”

While someone else went to get a new Blu-Ray, another hooked up a laptop to see if some 3D games or YouTube videos could be viewed, but, naturally, these all use another, different and incompatible format of 3D.

Well, back to our heroes. That second trip to the store (this time to buy a 3D starter kit that included the only released title and two additional sets of glasses for just less than $400) did the trick. But other problems remained as evidenced by the comments:

“Oh, I see it now. That’s cool, but it’s still blurry. Especially on those door jams or other things that are fixed and straight. Why aren’t those in 3D?”

“Are you supposed to see the glasses flashing? When I move my eyes, I can see them blinking.”

“I still can’t see 3D. Oh, I need to turn the glasses on? How do I do that?”

“I think the on-the-fly 3D [converting 2D to 3D automatically ] looked better than this movie.”

“What happens when my kids lose or sit on these glasses and they break?”

Overall, I was pleased by the mostly positive (albeit brief) reaction to the product, as it reflects the patience that early adopters might give the medium until the best-in-class solutions are released and content is readily available. My experience this past week does illustrate the state of the industry and how easy it will be for consumers to get confused and have a horrible 3D experience.

As always, I advise you talk to your Runco dealer about the roadmap for 3D in your home. I’d advise you to not rush into an incomplete solution, but look forward with us to the Runco approach. Just like we did with CineWide and with light-emitting diode (LED) technology, we’ll be remarkable and uniquely innovative, and you want to be a part of the revolution against bad 3D.

Note: Although I will never tell you where I was when I witnessed this circus show, I can tell you it was NOT at a Runco dealer or showroom. Our dealers know better.

~Jennifer B. Davis is all about technology innovation and is a customer advocate, business executive, mom, and loves her job as Runco’s VP of marketing.

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